The hacking collective Anonymous has begun its promised leak of the identities of members of the Ku Klux Klan with a data dump of the names of more than 350 alleged members along with links to social media accounts. Many of the identities are already in the public domain.
Only one of the names listed in the file, on the anonymous sharing site Pastebin, had a phone number attached. Fewer than five had email addresses. None returned requests for comment.
Many in the release are already in the public eye, at least on social media. TheTwitter biography of one such Klan member, James Pratt, reads: “A veteran, a daddy, a Klansman of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.”
Frank Ancona, whose name was included in the release as an imperial wizard of the KKK’s Traditionalist American Knights (TAK), has made TV appearances as a representative of the group. Former leader David Duke is listed in the release; so is Don Black, the founder of the white supremacist site Stormfront.
In a post on Ancona’s Facebook page, Greg Ferrell – whose name is also in the Pastebin file – said he was not afraid of having his name released.
“I’m not ashamed of being associated with it TAK,” he wrote, “I’m proud to be a KKK member of the TAK so let anonymous do their thing and f****** stupid bastards.”
Others are in the public eye because they have been in trouble with the law.Frazier Glenn Miller, the founder of the Carolina Knights of the KKK, is in prison for hate crimes. He murdered three people at Jewish sites in Kansas in 2014, and was sentenced to death in September.
The Pastebin file contained some hints regarding FBI infiltration of the Klan. The list itself was headed with the phrase “PROTIP: THE KKK ARE HEAVILY INFILTRATED BY THE EFF BEE EYE”.
On the list, three names were listed alleging that they were “FBI informants”. In July, one of them, Christopher Eugene Barker, was revealed as an informant in a case about the construction of a radioactive ray gun to target Muslims.
In a statement on Friday afternoon, a spokesperson for the FBI said: “We are aware of these reports and while we will not comment on specific allegations, we want to emphasize that those who engage in hacktivism are breaking the law.
“The FBI will continue to work with our public and private sector partners to identify and hold those accountable who engage in illegal activities in cyberspace.”
Anonymous’ war with the KKK began during protests that followed the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last year when a subgroup of the KKK – Ancona’s TAK – disseminated leaflets threatening “lethal force” against protesters. The Anonymous operation is now known as Operation KKK or, alternatively, Operation Hoods Off.
On Monday, a Twitter account claiming affiliation with Anonymous released a separate list of names it said were Klan members, including several US senators and local mayors. The list was quickly discredited, and the @Operation_KKK account distanced itself from it.
Friday’s official release did not appear to mark the end of Anonymous’ operation. A tweet on Thursday from the @Operation_KKK account said the group had held back some names for “further investigation”.
In an email sent before the data was dumped, a representative of Anonymous told the Guardian: “We are trying to change our world. No further comment.”